The nicest part about being a chuckwagon driver at the Calgary Stampede is the fans and friends sincerely hoping for you to do well. These folks are well wishers. I experience this myself as a fan of other professional sports. I am happy when Iggy scores a pretty goal or when Favre throws a great pass. If I had a chance to talk to these guys before or after a game I would wish them luck, tell them I hope they do well and try to let them know I really mean it. Then I sit on the sidelines and watch. So I guess as a fan of hockey and football, I by my own definition am a well wisher. I also feel this as a trainer and driver of great athletes. I love to see my horses succeed. Watching them compete fills me with pride and a sense of satisfaction. For them too, I am a well wisher.
I suppose I should correct myself. Well wishers are the second best thing about being a chuckwagon driver. The best thing about being a chuckwagon driver is, well… being a chuckwagon driver. It is starting at the sound of the horn, flying around the barrels and winning the race. The feeling you get as this is happening is indescribable. I will however attempt. When the wagon jerks forward there is an optimistic splash that hits your mind. “I think this might work, I may be fast”, you say to yourself. As the horses charge around the top barrel you feel the immense power and you get flung like a ribbon in the wind. A quick glance around at your competitors and you realize, “I got it, yessss! Go boys, go.”
As you race into the first turn, feeling the wagon surge every jump the horses take. Every jump feels like you are on the end of a tow rope in your truck and some one takes that first pull trying to get you out of a snow filled ditch. EVERY jump feels like that and as they race into the backstretch you begin to feel elated. All your training, all your staff, all your investment, all the sacrifices your family made for you…it is all paying off.
As you cross the finish line knowing you outran everyone, as you hear the roar of the crowd and yell to your horses “Way to go boys! Thank you.” This is where the wishing wells come in. Every time I throw a penny in a wishing well, every time I see a falling star, every time I break the wishbone or pick a bent up wish chip from a bag, every time I find a penny and every time I throw that penny right into the next wishing well, this is what I hope for; a Day money run at the Calgary Stampede and fastest time of the whole show.
I’m glad I visited enough wishing wells lately, and I’m glad to see all the well wishers.